William Perry Pendley, a senior interior official, has cast doubt on climate change and made xenophobic comments, according to a report from CNN published on Tuesday.
Pendley, who has been acting director of the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management since July, has been a right-wing lunatic well before that was widely understood to be a lucrative career path. The BLM oversees the use of public land, including environmental protections as well as oil and gas development.
In a 1992 speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation, Pendley falsely said there was no science behind global warming: “Despite the total absence of credible scientific evidence, the media is convinced and is attempting to convince us that we have global warming, an Ozone hole and acid rain and that it is all man’s fault,” he said.
In a 2007 fundraising mailer from the Mountain States Legal Foundation, Pendley expressed hatred toward illegal immigrants. He explained that some towns, like Hazleton, PA, and Valley Park, MO, passed laws penalizing landlords and business owners for hiring or renting to undocumented migrants. A federal appeals court found that the Hazleton law was unconstitutional and the city was ordered to pay nearly $1.4 million in fees to the lawyers who sued the city. A judge also blocked the Valley Park law, but an appeals court later upheld it.
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Pendley wrote in the mailer that immigrants were like a disease. “You see,” he wrote, “the problems Hazleton or Valley Park faces could be in your community next because illegal immigration is spreading like a cancer. Partly this is because Mexico and some other governments promote and encourage illegal immigration into our country.”
He also spouted the disgusting, hateful rhetoric in a 2006 blog post:
“Violent crime—including dangerous gangs, over-crowded schools, the appearance of diseases once vanquished from the western world, escalating hospital costs, and an overwhelming demand for government services!” he wrote. “These are the new problems being faced by small, cash-strapped cities and towns all across America. The source: illegal immigrants.”
In 1992, during the Heritage Foundation speech, he explained his ideological disapproval for the environmental movement. “It’s worth noting that, in the former Soviet Union, the number one freedom sought by the people is the right to own and use property,” he said.
He continued: “Meanwhile here in America, in the birthplace of liberty, we seek and embrace more and more governmental restrictions over our ability to use land, over our most basic and fundamental freedom.”
“‘Environmentalism’ is indeed the last refuge of the left, the last safe haven for those who trust, not the people, but big government, those who seek to place the power in the hands of federal bureaucrats,” Pendley said. “No wonder the environmental message has became the cause of choice for the elitists of Hollywood. It should not surprise us that they have embraced environmentalism with the same self-righteous fervor as they once embraced socialism and communism.”
Asked for comment, Pendley told CNN: “As someone in the public arena for nearly four decades, I’ve given countless statements and written scores of articles on a wide variety of topics. Cherrypicking a few of them out of context is neither useful nor connected to my current position. I’m focused now on implementing the policy priorities of the Trump administration and Secretary Bernhardt within the authorities and mission given this agency by Congress. My personal views are irrelevant in this context.”
Sure, man! That’s great!